Not so long ago, there were chatting facilities like AOL, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, etc. to connect and keep in touch with friends. They still exist and continue to be used but the world seems to have been taken over by social networks that keep growing, being developed or expanding.
Facebook is probably the fastest growing of them all. It is used worldwide for people to keep in touch with each other, or just watch each other with comments about what people are thinking, doing, whatever. I resisted using many of the social networks before, because of the bombardment of spam, junk and viral messages. This doesn’t seem to be happening anymore and is for the most part, safe. In fact, Facebook advertises “Facebook aspires to be an environment where people can interact safely with their friends and the people around them. We have implemented many safety and privacy controls on Facebook as part of our goal to enable people to share their information with only the people they want to see it. And we are constantly improving our systems for identifying and removing inappropriate content and people from the site.”
Boquete Ning is a local network set up to bring people in contact with common interests….ie. Boquete or Panama. I have to say that it is the reason I am in Boquete now. I joined the network to read about the local community and the interests therein. I believe someone set up a group on “horses” where I met many new friends. How I ended up moving to Boquete is a bit convoluded, but it was because one of my new friends invited me to stay for a few days, and I’ve been here ever since !
Plaxo is one of the newer social networks I’ve joined. I think I joined because there were more of my professional contacts on the site who invited me. LinkedIn is also a professional site through which I attached membership. True enough, one of my previous employers found me on Plaxo. It is when you think you’ve lost all contact with the past…it just isn’t so. You can be found, if you want to be found.
A couple of other sites I subscribed to, I have abandoned or discontinued because they have proven to be more aggravating and infuriating than fun. Tagged was such. It became more of a “dating”-type site, and it became most annoying with it’s automated bulk mail (junk or spam). There are also many real and sometimes difficult to detect: “scammers”. It’s one of those sites to be careful with.
Social networks have changed our culture and environment. People meet new people online – whether or not the intentions are honorable, is another question. The point is, the internet has become a major part of our everyday lives. Caution: Be prudent in judgement and use absolute discretion.
If you don’t think the internet and social networks have changed our culture, just think: Do you know any teenager who isn’t on Facebook?